Michelle Willis w/Maz • Mar 1

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MICHELLE WILLIS with guest MAZ
Wednesday March 1 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM (event ends at 11:00 PM) • 19+
Tickets: $15 (+SC) advance, $20 door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Toronto-based songwriter Michelle Willis fuses the nuance of early 70s soul, singer-songwriter, and modern folk / jazz. Her lyrics are set to almost hymnal harmony, warm, rich and lush tones, and a sea of background vocals. She spent the last five years touring and recording with artists such as Zac Brown Band, Iggy & The Stooges, Laura Mvula, Three Metre Day and Nikki Yanofsky to name a few. After touring with Snarky Puppy across Europe, Michelle’s debut solo record “See Us Through” comes out on May 13 on Snarky Puppy’s GroundUP label, distributed by Universal.

Mike ‘Maz’ Maher has made a name for himself as a founding member of the multi-Grammy award winning group Snarky Puppy. Although he functions as a trumpeter with the pups, it would be remiss to categorize Maz as a ‘closet singer-songwriter.’ His songs incorporate folk, rock, soul and jazz traditions with a seamless mastery that is perhaps only overshadowed by his ability to captivate audiences with the soulful intimacy of his voice.

My Will w/F.I.X. • Feb 25

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DEM Studios Presents
MY WILL + F.I.X. (EP Release Party)
with B.O.S., Illin, Morris, DJ Zeek the One, Vettor, PlsntRees & Fresh King
Saturday February 25, 2017 
Doors 9:00 PM (event ends at 1:00 AM)
Tickets: $14.99 (+SC) advance, $20 door

>> Buy Tickets Here <<

DEM Studios presents two of Hamilton’s freshest and most raw hip-hop artists — My Will and F.I.X — hosting their first live EP release party . Miss the old school vibes but want the new school attitude? DEM studios featured artists intend on bringing back that genuine hip hop environment — F.I.X. with three awards from 93.3FM CFMU’s Live n Direct, and My Will with only a year under her belt has already conquered an Ontario-wide university tour. These two up-and-coming artists are ready to be heard.

Steel City Stories: IWD • Mar 10 & 11

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In Partnership with Supercrawl Productions
STEEL CITY STORIES
International Women’s Day
Friday March 10

Doors 7pm, Stories 7:30pm • All-Ages
Saturday March 11

Doors 12:30pm, Stories 1:00pm • All-Ages
Tickets: $8 (+SC) advance, $10 door

>> Buy Friday Tickets Here <<
>> Buy Saturday Tickets Here <<

In honour of International Women’s Day, Steel City Stories presents Hamilton-based speakers telling stories live, without notes.

International Women’s Day (marked worldwide on March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900’s — a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day.

Please note: Seating is limited. Content can be mature; listener discretion is advised.

Wonder & Awe: The Magic of Brandon Love • Feb 17

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WONDER & AWE: THE MAGIC OF BRANDON LOVE
Friday February 17, 2017 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 8:00pm, show 8:30pm (event ends at 11pm) • All-Ages
>> PAY WHAT YOU CAN <<

More than just a magic show, Wonder & Awe: The Magic of Brandon Love is an experience you’ll want to be a part of. Brandon’s unique brand of magic has been performed around the world leaving audiences delighted and awestruck. This is a Pay What You Can event — there is no ticket price, but your contributions are welcome at the door. **NOTE: THIS WILL BE THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF WONDER & AWE – DON’T MISS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE IT!**

The Small Glories w/Mississippi Bends • Mar 25

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THE SMALL GLORIES with MISSISSIPPI BENDS
Saturday March 25, 2017 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 9:00pm (event ends at 11pm) All-Ages
Tickets: $15.00 (+SC) advance, $18 at the door

Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a dynamic duo planted on the Canadian Prairies. They are a study in contrasts; Cara, all earth mother on her 21-speed bike, environmentally friendly and wholesome, ebullient and engaging; and burly JD, in scruffy beard, ball cap, t-shirt and jean jacket, slightly intimidating (until you meet him). At first glance few would peg them for a highly creative musical partnership. Yet these two veteran singer/songwriters have teamed up and are building a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity and visceral performances. Luft is a Juno Award winner and co-founder of the folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys.  She has earned her rep as a gutsy live performer and insightfully honest songwriter, with serious skills on the guitar and clawhammer banjo.   No Depression calls her songwriting “redemptive, earthy and rooted in realism” and the Globe and Mail says she “sings like an angel named Joni or Alanis…”  Edwards is a riveting live performer and prolific songwriter, a soulful singer blessed with one of the most versatile and powerful voices in Canada.  Both are musical road warriors who have racked up many miles on both sides of the Atlantic. Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories is a partnership that could almost make you believe in fate.  The Winnipeg Free Press asks, “can two singer-songwriters be better than one? Yes, emphatically, yes, if the two in question are Cara Luft and JD Edwards… It’s our loss they didn’t [join forces] sooner… It’s magic.”  Together as The Small Glories, Luft and Edwards are a tour de force, a case of 1 + 1 = 3.

“[Luft’s] amiable vocals and simplistic, lush instrumentation follow that of the long honored folk tradition with a modern twist. Lyrically [she] is like fresh linen on a Brooklyn clothesline. Her writing [is] redemptive, earthy and rooted in realism…. Darlingford conjures visions of blooming flowers in an apocalyptic wasteland, gold flaked tumbleweeds on the Trans-Canadian highway at dawn and a glimpse into the fractured and glowing soul of a talented writer and performer.” – No Depression

“Co-founder of the vocal trio The Wailin’ Jennys, The Light Fantastic has a more rock-and-roll bent. But even with a more hard-edged veneer the basic sweetness of Luft’s songs shines through. Original compositions are spiced with Celtic and Anglo/Canadian inflections that harken to her folk roots. If you liked the Jennys’ first two releases, you’ll love this.” – Vintage Guitar Magazine

“It can’t be done, so don’t even try to turn away from the affecting insistence of Canada’s Luft who sings like an angel named Joni or Alanis…” – The Globe and Mail

“Luft is the perfect blend of lightness and gutsy rock chick.” – PopMatters

Mike Maas w/Lite Years • Sept 24

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MIKE MAAS with LITE YEARS

Saturday September 24, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 8:30pm, Show 9:00pm 

Tickets $10 (+SC) advance, $15 door

>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

Mike Maas is a Hamilton-based singer-songwriter who has been writing and playing music for more than a dozen years now. A wide range of influences are evident in his music, from The Beatles to U2, Oasis to Coldplay, as well as the likes of Explosions in the Sky, Death Cab for Cutie and Radiohead — pop titans and underdogs who have all nourished the young songwriter and shaped his creative evolution. In 2006, Maas recorded his debut album, On The Otherside of The Trees, in 2006, at Hamilton’s Studio 410 Sound Productions. Since 2009 Mike has taken some time off to refocus but is now looking to start making music again. The future is looking bright as he continues to play live dates to warm receptions, performing with his band The Late Nite LineUp. 

Reuben and the Dark w/Charlotte Cornfield • Sept 29

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REUBEN & THE DARK with CHARLOTTE CORNFIELD

Thursday September 29, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, Show 8:30pm  

Tickets $15 (+SC) advance, $20 door

>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

Calgary’s Reuben and the Dark is a collection of five multi-instrumentalists and vocalists led by Reuben Bullock. The group makes chilling, emotive folk and soul driven by dark, introspective lyrics that explore the duality of misery and joy. Boasting a rare chemistry between all members across western Canada, Reuben and the Dark has emerged organically from Canada’s stellar independent scene on the strength of often anthemic compositions that translate the language of emotion into song with haunting clarity.

Reuben Bullock is a storyteller. One of those undeniably engaging types that captivates with ease thanks to incredible charms and a fascinating past. Sit with him and you’ll hear tales of his upbringing, growing up the son of a preacher and middle brother of three. He’ll relate a childhood spent travelling North America, from town to town, never staying in one place for long and learning about life on the road – a lesson that now serves him well.

He will tell you about rebelling against religion and a lingering distaste for those teachings, he and his oldest brother spurning the spiritual world for a wilder one, which he considers himself lucky to have survived. The trials and brushes with mortality that have set the stage for Reuben’s current struggle- one more artistic than physical or strictly spiritual. Reuben will talk about past pursuits – skateboarding semi-professionally during a career marked by the same fearlessness with which he approaches his new pursuit as a music maker.

Now inked to Canada’s iconic indie imprint Arts & Crafts, Reuben finds himself on a promising new path, this time as a young songwriter and star with a world-class album. Now, the names of studio titans like Stephen Kozmeniuk and Jim Abbiss – men who boast credits from artists like Madonna and Adele – dot the liner notes of Reuben’s debut, but not along ago music was actually a new craft for Reuben. He’ll tell you he picked up a guitar for the first time at 21. The goal then was to make sense of the notebooks full of poems and lyrics that had been pouring out of him for years, to find the means to express whatever it was that was coursing through him so powerfully. Much of it was about that religious upbringing, preaching against it, the need to shake people up, to make them see and feel things differently.

Reuben’s first album was recorded in a Canadian prairie town shed, the product as stark, raw and beautiful as the rustic surroundings in which it was made. What followed, Reuben will tell you, was a need to expand that sound, to make it much, much bigger.  That’s when he embraced The Dark, bringing together a collection of musicians inclusive of his younger brother, Distance, that helped him craft something that was both sonically intricate and capable of something greater.

The first group recording represented a scrappy attempt at gospel from the rock of the earth, a reach for the stars while being tethered to the self. During this time a reputation also began to build, based on the strength of a transcendent live show – one intended to help those in its grip reach catharsis. Without a doubt this was a successful time, both in taking his project and its music further, and on a whim, also taking Reuben to Mexico. There, a chance meeting with members of Florence + The Machine unfolded after they’d heard his album playing in a local shop. Later he’d join them on stage and eventually, fly to London to record some demos with drummer Christopher Hayden, who now joins Reuben and Kozmeniuk as a producer on the band’s debut. That album marks the first proper effort from this now fully realized incarnation of Reuben and the Dark – and on it you’ll experience his storytelling first hand.

Charlotte Cornfield is a multifarious songwriter/instrumentalist from Toronto. A friend describes her sound as “Laurel Canyon grunge folk,” and she agrees with a smile. A denizen of the road since her late teens, the 6-foot-tall musician lives in a state of bemusement. Cornfield, whose music lies somewhere between Neil Young, Sharon Van Etten, and Courtney Barnett, recently recorded a new album in Toronto with producer Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith, Bahamas), a follow-up to her acclaimed 2011 debut Two Horses. She has previously shared the stage with the likes of Sun Kil Moon, Lake Street Dive, Ron Sexsmith and Sharon Van Etten. The Globe and Mail says, “Her songwriting is ravenous. Even here, in uneasy happiness, the 27-year-old sounds like she will wolf down her life as fast as she is able. The windfalls, the crises, the concerts, the chance encounters – she’ll sprint through them all, collecting burs. This is work in the tradition of Dylan or Townes Van Zandt.”

Max Wray w/Mandippal • Aug 12

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MAX WRAY CD Release Party w/Mandippal
Friday, August 12, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm • 19+
Tickets: $8.00 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Meet Max Wray.

“I come from a home that never knew what it had to offer, but still offered itself just the same.

Music was never discussed at length. It just was. It was the soundtrack, the heartbeat that connected each moment seamlessly to the next. From the moment I asked, “what’s jazz?” at the age of three to this very moment as I sit here writing, music has been the end all and be all of my understanding. Navigating a course of music lessons as a child, through all different instruments, I eventually found my own voice and a love of playing the guitar.

Along the way, the shy youngest boy, of a musically appreciative yet musically inept family, discovered a joy in performing. Taking a cue from songwriters and stand-ups I found a way to connect with an audience through both my music and my sense of humour. The songs of Lyle Lovett, Bill Withers, Gil Scott-Heron, Jason Mraz, John Mayer and even Irving Berlin, helped me find a line I still walk today as I navigate my career. Their songs of the heart have always been the ones that I connected with. The breaking of, the mistaking of, discovery, and recovery of the heart, have always been intrepid in my songwriting.

Now, as I write myself, the words work their own way, I only try to craft them as they pass and hope that one day I’ll have the same connection to others that the ones who molded me had.”

The Pack A.D. w/Grey Lands • June 6

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THE PACK A.D. with GREY LANDS
Monday, June 6, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm • 19+
Tickets: $12.50 (+SC) advance, $17.50 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Destruction and melody, acid wit and bruising vocals—this is the Pack A.D. Singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller have made a sound so gigantic, so fierce and raw and empowering, that it’s easy to forget there are just two people behind this brilliant, carefully constructed havoc.

Shredding and pounding their way through every song, the Pack A.D. swallows you whole inside their fearless Franken-blend of heavy psych-pop/garage-rock. Their lyrics are wild nests, human and complex: darkly funny disclosures about depression; indictments of digital excess; grief-stricken fire bombs; sly crusades against stupidity. The Pack A.D. is also one of Canada’s “must-see” bands.

Be it a massive stadium or the slightly seedy bar where everybody’s shoes stick to the carpet, the Pack A.D. have owned every spotlight and stolen every show they’ve ever played. Becky and Maya are relentless and riveting, playing with the kind of fuck-off freedom that makes everybody in the room vicarious rock stars, even if it’s just for the night.

For his first album as Grey Lands, Wayne Petti returned to the musical country he came from. Songs By Other People is a solo album that isn’t solo – Cuff the Duke’s frontman reimagining the songs of others, with the help of others, everyone gathered in a warm, electric sound.
“I wanted to acknowledge where I had been, musically,” Petti says. So there are songs by Bob Dylan and Buffy Ste-Marie, by Sloan and M Ward, all filtered through Petti’s prism. The music is burred and confident, far noisier than Petti’s previous work. And his choice of pals gives the material a scrappy quality: Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, shouting beside Petti on Dylan’s “My Back Pages”; Sarah Harmer, coyly duetting on Lee Hazlewood’s “Sand”. All of these guests, from Keelor and Harmer to Joel Plaskett, Hayden and Randy Bachman, are musicians Petti has supped with or toured with or meandered alongside, over kind grey lands.
Maybe Songs By Other People is the sound of friendship. Not just the sound of friends playing together but the sound of affinity itself, of crisscrossing spirits. Maybe it’s friendship, not feedback, that fills the corners of Grey Lands’ songs. This ain’t hokey, it ain’t dumb mush: if lust can be captured on magnetic tape, or rage can, or regret, then surely friendship’s allowed too. And is there any truer metaphor for love than singing the words of another person’s song?

Even knowing the back-story, Grey Lands’ ragged team-ups feel unexpectedly intimate, personal – pop-rock and psych-folk sent out clearly, sincerely, from player to listener. And for all its thunder and reverb, Songs By Other People is still a thing of loud melody: a classic’s a classic for a reason, and Petti’s never unfaithful to his best friends. These eight songs, this gang of co-conspirators – it’s its own ringing, rowdy jukebox. Enjoy.